Sent: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 3:24 PM
Subject: Re: [PK] IS THIS WESTGATE MOVE REAL?
Sent: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 7:45 AM
Subject: [PK] IS THIS WESTGATE MOVE REAL?
Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
British national arrested over Westgate mall attack
KDF soldiers patrolling the Westgate mall on September 24, 2013. A British national has been arrested over the attack. PHOTO/ JEFF ANGOTE
- British newspapers have speculated that Samantha Lewthwaite was among the attackers
- It is claimed that a British woman was among the attackers
He said five attackers were killed and 11 suspects detained.
British national arrested in Nairobi mall attack
According to the Daily Mail newspaper, a 35-year-old Briton of Somali origin was arrested at Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta airport as he attempted to leave Kenya on a Turkish Airlines flight.
Kenya's 4-day terror nightmare: British national arrested following Nairobi mall siege
Shebab claims 137 hostages killed
They also accused Kenyan troops of firing "projectiles containing chemical agents" to end the four-day stand-off.
A British national has been arrested in Nairobi following the mall siege that killed at least 67 people, the Foreign Office in London said on Wednesday.
"We have ashamed and defeated our attackers, that part of our task is completed," a sombre Kenyatta, who himself lost family members in the assault, said in a televised address to the nation.
The president said "three floors of the mall collapsed, trapping several bodies within the rubble including those of terrorists."
Police said the current death toll was provisional, while the Kenyan Red Cross said 63 people were still listed as missing.
"Our losses are immense," the president said, announcing three days of national mourning.
"We have been badly hurt, but we have been brave, united and strong. Kenya has stared down evil and triumphed. We have defeated our enemies and showed the whole world what we can accomplish," he said.
Five attackers had been killed and 11 suspects were in custody. Somalia's Al Qaeda-linked Shebab rebels said the group carried out the attack in retaliation for Kenya's two-year battle against the extremists' bases in the country.
"It's an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth," the group said on Twitter late on Tuesday night.
In one of the worst attacks in Kenya's history, the militants marched into the four-storey, part Israeli-owned Westgate Mall at midday Saturday, spraying shoppers with automatic weapons fire and tossing grenades.
Kenyatta said that "forensic investigations are under way to establish the nationalities of all those involved" amid reports Americans and a British woman were among the insurgents.
There has been growing media speculation at the possible role of wanted British extremist Samantha Lewthwaite, daughter of a British soldier and widow of suicide bomber Germaine Lindsay, who blew himself up on a London Underground train on July 7, 2005, killing 26 people.
The president said intelligence reports had suggested that a British woman and two or three American citizens "may have been involved in the attack", but that could not yet be confirmed.
Lewthwaite is wanted in Kenya, and is accused of links to the Shebab -- although the rebels later "categorically" denied the involvement of any woman in the attack, insisting they had "an adequate number of young men who are fully committed".
Shebab spokesman Ali Mohamud Rage also threatened further "black days" if Kenya did not bring troops home, warning the siege was just "a taste of what we will do".
Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon vowed that his government would "finish" the Shebab militants and insisted that it would not bow to the rebels' demands for the withdrawal of Kenyan troops.
For his part, Kenyatta vowed "full accountability for the mindless destruction, deaths, pain, loss and suffering we have all undergone."
"These cowards will meet justice, as will their accomplices and patrons, wherever they are."
Close to 200 were wounded in the four-day carnage, which saw running battles between militants and security forces in the complex, Nairobi's largest shopping centre and popular with wealthy Kenyans, diplomats, UN workers and other expatriates.
The siege developed into a hostage drama with Shebab claiming civilians were being held, and Kenyan special forces describing the stand-off as delicate -- with gunman running and hiding in supermarket aisles, store rooms, a cinema and casino and placing booby traps.
Officials and intelligence sources said they were backed by Israeli, US and British agents.
Non-Muslims selected for executionShocked witnesses said the attackers weeded out non-Muslims for execution by demanding they recite the Shahada, the Muslim profession of faith.
"When I mentioned the first word of the Shahada (creed), they moved on. That is how I survived," one survivor said. Another saw people being questioned, then executed.
Children, some of whom were taking part in a cooking competition hosted by popular radio personalities, were also gunned down. Competition host Ruhila Adatia-Sood, a TV and radio personality who was six months pregnant, was shot dead.
"The kids were just running around in their little aprons, chopping up. We heard a series of gunshots," said Aleem Manji, whose radio station East FM was hosting the party. "We said get down, get down, get down on the floor. And just as we did that, the gunmen tossed a grenade to where we were."
As well as scores of Kenyans -- from ordinary workers to the president's nephew -- many of the dead were foreigners, including six Britons, two Canadians, a Chinese woman, a Dutch woman, two French women, two Indians, a South African and a South Korean.
Some of the survivors recounted how they hid under cars in the parking area, while others played dead or barricaded themselves inside shops. Security camera footage showed gunmen subjecting toilet doors to a barrage of gunfire, apparently after learning that large numbers of people were holed up inside.
Blood donour appeals ended after banks filled with donations from hundreds, while over $650,000 (490,000 euros) has been raised to support the families affected.
The siege, which has revived memories of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, is the worst attack in Nairobi since an Al-Qaeda bombing at the US embassy killed more than 200 people in 1998.
US President Barack Obama, whose father was Kenyan, has called Kenyatta offering "whatever law enforcement support that is necessary".
Intelligence sources from two foreign countries who could not be named said there had been no leaks or "chatter" ahead of the attack, despite close monitoring of the Shebab's operations. The Westgate mall, however, has long been considered a potential "soft" target for extremists.
"During sanitization once you take control of the place if you go to a room where you haven't visited before you shoot first to make sure you aren't walking into an ambush," he said. "But there hasn't been any gunfire from the terrorists for more than 36 hours."
But a top security official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information, said even around the time President Uhuru Kenyatta told the nation in a televised address that "we have ashamed and defeated our attackers" on Tuesday night, three shots rang out at the mall.
He said Kenyan authorities are still trying to determine where those shots came from.
Meanwhile, the Kenyan government said forensic experts from the United States, Britain and Israel would be assisting them in their investigation of the attack.
"The mall is sealed off, it is a crime scene," Esipisu said.
The process of retrieving bodies from inside the mall still had not begun Wednesday morning — possibly indicating that the situation was not yet considered secure — though a city morgue official said his workers were preparing to go into the building soon.
The attack claimed by Somali militant group al-Shabab killed at least 61 civilians, six security officers and five extremists, the president said. Three floors of the mall collapsed, and at least one more militant's body is believed to be buried in the rubble. Officials said the death count will likely rise. Estimates varied between only a few bodies to dozens of bodies possibly still inside the mall.
Another 175 people were injured, including more than 60 who remain hospitalized.
Fears persisted that some of the attackers could still be alive and loose inside the rubble of the mall, a vast complex that had shops for retailers like Bose, Nike and Adidas, as well as banks, restaurants and a casino.
A high-ranking security official involved in the investigations said it would take time to search the whole mall before declaring that the terrorist threat had been crushed. That official insisted on anonymity in order to discuss information not publicly disclosed.
Kenyatta declared three days of national mourning beginning on Wednesday.
Eleven other suspects have been taken into custody, but Esipisu would not comment on what information they may have given to authorities.
"At this at this point the interrogations are ongoing and I can't reveal any of the details, "he said.
Al-Shabab, whose name means "The Youth" in Arabic, first began threatening Kenya with a major terror attack in late 2011, after Kenya sent troops into Somalia following a spate of kidnappings of Westerners inside Kenya.
The al-Shabab extremists stormed the mall on Saturday, throwing grenades and firing on civilians.
The group used Twitter throughout the four-day siege to say that Somalis have been suffering at the hands of Kenyan military operations in Kenya, and the mall attack was revenge.
"You could have avoided all this and lived your lives with relative safety," the group Tweeted Tuesday. "Remove your forces from our country and peace will come."
The mall attack was the deadliest terrorist attack in Kenya since the 1998 al-Qaida truck bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, which killed more than 200 people.
Security officials in Nairobi always knew that Westgate, which was popular with foreign residents of the capital as well as tourists and wealthy Kenyans, was a likely target for terror attacks.
Associated Press writer David Rising contributed to this story from Nairobi, Kenya.
Kenya shopping mall siege over, three floors of Westgate mall collapse
NAIROBI: said on Tuesday that his forces had "defeated" Islamists from al-Shabaab, had shot five of them dead and detained 11 others suspected of killing 67 people after storming .
It remained unclear after Uhuru Kenyatta addressed the nation on television whether the four-day security operation at the upmarket Westgate centre was completely over, or whether any militants were still at large or hostages unaccounted for.
"We have ashamed and defeated our attackers," Kenyatta said, adding that bodies were still trapped under rubble following the collapse of part of the building late in the operation. A fire began on Monday which officials said was started by the gunmen.
Sixty-one civilians and six security personnel had been confirmed killed in the four days of bloodshed, Kenyatta said. Five of the attackers were shot dead and 11 suspects were in custody: "Kenya has stared down evil and triumphed," he said.
The president added that he could not confirm intelligence reports that a British woman and two or three might be involved. Forensic scientists were involved in trying to identify the nationalities of the "terrorists", he said.
"Towards the tail end of the operation, three floors of collapsed and there are several bodies trapped in the rubble including the terrorists," he added. The death toll had previously been put by officials at 62.
"These cowards will meet justice as will their accomplices and patrons, wherever they are," said the president, who thanked other leaders for support and used his address to both praise the response of the Kenyan people and call for national unity, six months after his election was marked by ethnic tensions.
Kenyatta had rejected the militants' demands that he pull Kenyan troops out of its northern neighbour. As part of an African peacekeeping force in Somalia, Kenyan forces have pushed al Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab on to the defensive over the past two years.
Kenyan officials have announced the imminent end of the siege for the past three days - something al Shabaab spokesmen have mocked in commentaries and in postings on social media.
Some hours before Kenyatta spoke, the group said its militants were still holding out with hostages and that there were "countless dead bodies" still inside the complex.
"There are countless number of dead bodies still scattered inside the mall, and the Mujahideen are still holding their ground #Westgate," the group said on its Twitter feed.
"The hostages who were being held by the Mujahideen inside #Westgate are still alive, looking quite disconcerted but, nevertheless, alive."
It described its fighters as "unruffled and strolling around the mall in such sangfroid manner".
In an audio statement posted via Twitter, al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage called the militants' action a "deadly thrust" by "loyal soldiers seeking to rewrite history". If Kenya failed to pull troops out of Somalia and free al Shabaab prisoners it should "expect black days".
The attack has come at a time when several violent Islamist groups from Mali to Algeria, Nigeria to Kenya - tapping into local grievances but all espousing an anti-Western, anti-Christian creed - are striking at state authority and international interests.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Kenyan military said its forces were carrying out "mop up operations" in the building.
The interior ministry earlier said security forces were in control of the mall and that all the hostages had been released.
Images from closed-circuit television inside the mall during the attack, published in a Kenyan newspaper on Tuesday, showed two militants, casually dressed and wearing ammunition belts. One held an assault rifle. Al-Shabaab confirmed that the two men were part of the group that attacked Westgate.
Kenyan foreign minister Amina Mohamed told PBS television in the United States that "two or three Americans" and a British woman were among the militants.
She said the Americans were "young men, about between maybe 18 and 19" years old. She said they were of Somali or Arab origin and had lived in "in Minnesota and one other place".
Al-Shabaab, which said it had been in communication with its members in the mall, dismissed the minister's comments.
"Those who describe the attackers as Americans and British are people who do not know what is going on in Westgate building," al-Shabaab's media office told Reuters.
A British security source said it was possible that Samantha Lewthwaite, the widow of Germaine Lindsay, one of the suicide bombers who killed more than 50 people on London's transport system in 2005, was involved in the Nairobi siege.
When asked about reports that Lewthwaite, dubbed the "white widow" by the British media, was directly involved in the attack in Kenya, the source said: "It is a possibility. But nothing definitive or conclusive yet."
Lewthwaite is thought to have left Britain several years ago and is wanted in connection with an alleged plot to attack hotels and restaurants in Kenya.
US security sources said they were looking into information from Kenya that residents of Western countries, including the United States, may have been among the militants.
US President Barack Obama, whose father was born in the east African nation, offered help, saying he believed Kenya - the scene of one of al Qaeda's first major attacks, in 1998, and a neighbour of chaotic Somalia - would continue to be a regional pillar of stability.
Somalia's prime minister appealed in Geneva on Tuesday for international support to combat al-Shabaab but said a military solution to their insurgency alone was not enough.
Abdi Farah Shirdon said: "We still have a difficult journey ahead of us. A military solution alone is not enough, promotion of rule of law, greater regional cooperation and economic stability and provision of public services are all key factors that complement the military effort."
The attack on the mall is the worst such incident in Kenya since al-Qaida killed more than 200 people when it bombed the US Embassy in Nairobi in 1998.
When fighters from its Somali ideological counterpart stormed the mall on Saturday, they hit a high-profile symbol of Kenya's economic power.
Kenya has sent troops to Somalia as part of an African Union force trying to stabilise the country, which was long without a functioning government, and push back al-Shabaab.
It has also suffered internal instability. President Kenyatta, who lost a nephew in the weekend bloodbath, faces charges of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court for his alleged role in coordinating violence after disputed elections in 2007. He denies the charges.
British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said he believed six Britons had died in the attack. Other known foreign victims are from China, Ghana, France, the Netherlands and Canada. Kenyan officials said the total death toll was at least 62.
Conflicting comments have fuelled speculation about the attackers' identity. While the foreign minister said there was a woman attacker killed, Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku had said on Monday they were all men but some had dressed as women.